What’s for Dinner? Hello Fresh
I think we’ve probably established that the thing I hate most about cooking (aside from cleanup) is meal planning. I’m tired of being creative, tired of making decisions on everyone’s behalf. So at a friend’s suggestion, I signed up with a new meal program that she had been using: Hello Fresh.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the meal delivery service idea by now, but as a quick review: You select meals in advance and the ingredients and recipes for three portion-controlled meals appear on your doorstep.
Gobble is all about speed. Meats are par-cooked and vacuum sealed, so you can reheat braised beef, for example, and have it on the table in 15-20 minutes. (3)
Blue Apron is all about fresh ingredients, but some of the prep work takes forever. Cutting a turnip into matchsticks? Peeling Brussels sprouts into individual leaves? I used the service for months and never, ever managed to get a meal onto the table in less than an hour. (1)
Hello Fresh is as fresh as Blue Apron, but with meals that can honestly be prepared in 30-35 minutes. (2)
Blue Apron and Hello Fresh use equally fresh ingredients. (Tie, 3 each)
That’s not to say that Gobble isn’t fresh, but you’re dealing with fewer raw ingredients and more par-cooked or partially prepared items. (1)
Winners: Hello Fresh and Blue Apron
While Gobble is little more than reheating, it still takes attention. I would say that Hello Fresh is comparable. (Tie, 3 each)
Sorry, Blue Apron. You don’t send recipes where I can focus on helping with homework while cooking dinner. You’re all-in, full-attention. (1)
Winners: Hello Fresh and Gobble
So far, no one has any complaints about the Hello Fresh recipes. (3)
Gobble was fine, but even The Assistant thought that the recipes were a little uninspired. (2)
Blue Apron relied heavily on leafy greens like kale and chard. They were definitely not a hit with The Assistant. (1)
Winner: Hello Fresh
We order the meals for two. There is generally enough to stretch to accommodate all three of us, though sometimes I’ll extend a bit. On chili night I added an extra can of beans. Tonight I’m making rice to accompany the chicken saltimbocca. Minimal cost and effort. When comparing prices, note that you’re clearly paying more for convenience. The more work they do, the more you pay.
Hello Fresh: 3 meals for 2 people, $69/week (2)
Blue Apron: 3 meals for 2 people, $60/week (3)
Gobble: 3 meals for 2 people, $72/week (1)
Winner: Blue Apron
Hello Fresh: 13 points
Gobble: 11 points*
Blue Apron: 9 points
* I’d like to give Gobble an extra bonus point for giving me no hassle whatsoever when I canceled service after the fire. They were the single fastest, most responsive vendor we dealt with of any kind. I think the whole process took two minutes by phone.
If you want to try Hello Fresh, you can use my coupon code [SMW55P] for $40 off your first order.